I couldn't believe my ears. I had just opened the door to the church and I was hearing strains of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It was Beethoven being played on a cold December afternoon in a church built in the middle of a Wisconsin farm field. How wonderful! And then I was confused.
Advent, the four-week period preceding Christmas, is a time to slow down as we wait in hopeful expectation for Christ's coming. It's a time to take stock of what's important in our lives, casting away extra commitments and wasted energy we've added throughout the year.
While most of the Twelve Apostles died as martyrs, St. Andrew is one of the few who were killed on a cross. He was one of the very few who, though they ran from Him at Golgotha, were able to remain close to Him in their remaining years, even to the point of dying in a manner similar to Him. There is no question who and what he stood for in his life. Andrew’s words proclaimed that “Jesus Christ is Lord,” and his actions said nothing less.
When President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863, the United States was embroiled in the Civil War. And yet the language employed by our 16th president in his proclamation that year was rich in its imagery of unity among people and gratitude toward God, as he encouraged every one of his fellow citizens to observe this "Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
Two groups ask me often what they can do to help their children grow in faith: parents of toddlers and parents of young adults. Surprised? While their ages and stages of life may differ, the two groups are closer than you might think.